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Diabetes is a lifelong health issue, but taking good care of yourself can go a long way toward keeping it from limiting your life. Monitoring blood sugar levels, eating right and exercising are essential, according to experts.
Managing Type 1 Diabetes
With type 1 diabetes, regular blood sugar level monitoring and insulin--via injections or a pump--are needed to keep blood glucose levels in check. According to Andrew Ahmann, M.D., M.S., director of the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), people with type 1 diabetes don't usually have to restrict calories, but counting carbohydrates in the diet (to determine how much insulin is needed) and paying attention to which foods impact blood sugar levels the most are key, as these vary from person to person.
Coping With Type 2 Diabetes
For many diabetes sufferers, a healthy diet, regular exercise and blood glucose testing can be effective in managing type 2 diabetes; others require insulin and/or additional medication as well. For overweight people with diabetes, losing and maintaining weight with portion control and calorie restriction are musts. The following diet and exercise tips may help in that effort.
Liz Brown is a health, nutrition and travel writer based in Portland, Oregon. She holds a B.S. degree in Nutrition and is co-author (with Chris Meletis, N.D.) of the book "Enhancing Fertility: A Couple's Guide to Natural Approaches " (Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2004). Brown is also a Spa magazine contributing editor.
- Exercise at least 2-3 hours per week, on a minimum of three or four days (brisk walking fast enough that you can't carry on a normal conversation, for example)
- Decide on an activity you really like to do so that you'll stick with it
- Consult your doctor to make sure your exercise program is safe, considering any other health issues you may have, such as heart disease
- Start slowly and work your way up to longer workouts
- Don't go more than two days without exercise
- If you can't walk, consider water aerobics, an exercise bike, resistance exercises (bands) or weights
Nourish Your Body
- Study your eating patterns and try to identify and stop unhealthy habits
- Practice mindful eating. Take your time, taste and savor your food, and turn off the TV--watching the tube while eating is known to cause a person to eat more
- Keep a food diary. If you write down what you eat, you're more accountable and aware of just how much you're eating
- Make healthy eating a family affair. You're more inclined to eat well if you get your spouse and kids to cooperate and join in meal preparation
- Ask your doctor about classes or support groups that teach coping mechanisms.
For more information about diabetes, check out the American Diabetes Association website.
Reprinted with permission from myRegence.com